Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 13
Where one man takes on both his girlfriend and his Playstation in a battle to beat the spread.
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It's here where Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
This Thanksgiving, it's not difficult for me to figure out what I'm thankful for. First and foremost, I'm thankful for having Woman in my life. Second, I'm thankful that I've been slightly better at picking games than Woman this season.
That's right. After last week, I now have a whopping one-game lead on Woman in the standings. After 12 weeks and 120 games, I am one game better at picking games in a sport that I make a living covering than Woman who, to her credit, puts a lot more effort and thought into her picks than I do.
I'm also thankful for Machine for being so terrible at this and ensuring I won't finish in last place again like last season.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns (-7) -- Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (All times Eastern)
Man -- I'd rather be watching Texas and Texas A&M on Thursday night, but, well, this is life in college football these days. I fully expect Texas to win this game, but that spread just seems a bit too large. I'm expecting both teams to be a bit sloppy on a short week. Pick: TCU
Woman -- Lord, as we drift into a tryptophan-induced Thanksgiving stupor, we give thanks that you replaced one bitter, internecine Texas feud with another. Taking an extra slice of pecan pie, a shot of bourbon and the points. Pick: TCU
Machine -- The Machine sees Texas feasting on TCU this Thanksgiving evening, as the Longhorns roll to a 35-20 win. Pick: Texas
Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Wildcats (-3) -- Friday, 10 p.m.
Man -- This is a rivalry and all, but I don't think this one is going to be all that close. Arizona State got off to a great start on the season, but its last three wins are against Cal, Colorado and Washington State. That's three teams with a combined record of 6-28. The Sun Devils just can't beat good teams, and Arizona is a good team. Pick: Arizona
Woman -- On behalf of heterosexual males, we give thanks for the famed hotness of the Sun Devils cheerleaders. Too bad they won't be on the field to shut down Wildcats sophomore running back phenom Ka'Deem Carey. Pick: Arizona
Machine -- It's a clean sweep as Arizona knocks off the Sun Devils 38-31. Pick: Arizona
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Georgia Bulldogs (-13) -- Saturday, 12 p.m.
Man -- Georgia essentially had last week off, which helped it prepare for this game, but I don't think it's going to matter. I'm not going to get crazy and say Georgia Tech pulls off the upset here -- though, after last week, who knows -- but I think it's going to be closer than most are expecting. Pick: Georgia Tech
Woman -- Thanks for an excuse to link to an adorable UGA-in-training. That pup's whiny yawp is the same sound you'll hear on Saturday from the folks who gave up 13 points to the Yellow Jackets. Pick: Georgia Tech
Machine -- You know who is crazy enough to pick Georgia Tech straight up? Machine. Georgia Tech wins a shocker, 27-14. Pick: Georgia Tech
Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes (- 3 1/2) -- Saturday, 12 p.m.
Man -- Good news, Ohio State. After this weekend, you won't have to worry about what might have been had you self-imposed a bowl ban last season. Michigan is coming into Columbus on Saturday and not only covering the spread but winning outright. Pick: Michigan
Woman -- Thank you for the stoic Buckeyes, whose win this Saturday will give them a perfect season, a likely trip to New York for Braxton Miller and lingering questions about what might have been. Pick: Ohio State
Machine -- The Machine thinks you're going to want to watch this one. Ohio State wins 31-30 thanks to a 35-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Miller to Corey Brown with 25 seconds remaining. Still, Michigan covers. Pick: Michigan
Oregon Ducks (-9 1/2) at Oregon State Beavers -- Saturday, 3 p.m.
Man -- I feel like Oregon State is running into the Ducks at the wrong time. Had Oregon won last week, I think they'd be ripe for an upset this week. However, that's not the case and the Ducks now have their backs against the wall. They can still win the Pac-12 and there is still a chance to play for a title, so they're going to show their rivals less mercy than usual. Pick: Oregon
Woman -- We give thanks, oh, Lord, for the Civil War all America can finally get behind. While the Ducks won't get stuffed, the Beavers' defense will keep it closer than the spread. (We do not, however, give thanks for the game being on the Pac-12 Network, preventing far too many of us from seeing it.) Pick: Oregon State
Machine -- Oh, man. This one gets bloodier than Gettysburg. Oregon wins 55-13. Pick: Oregon
Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles (-6) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- I'm leery of taking Florida State in this game, but there's just no way I can take Florida here given how the Gators have looked in their last four games. Pick: Florida State
Woman -- Our heartfelt thanks for Chief Osceola, Renegade and a healthy E.J. Manuel. Pick: Florida State
Machine -- Somebody believes in the Gators, but not enough to keep them alive for the national championship. Florida State wins a 14-10 thriller that isn't thrilling in the slightest as neither team scores in the second half. Pick: Florida
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Oklahoma Sooners (-7) -- Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Man -- Oklahoma is the better team in this game, and Oklahoma State hasn't been nearly as good on the road as it is at home. That being said, in the last two weeks against offenses similar to Oklahoma State's, the Sooners have allowed 83 points. So with a defense allowing that many points, I can't give up a touchdown in this one. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman -- Thank you to the Bedlam Series for reminding us that the closer you live to someone, the more you can hate them. The edge goes to the Sooners playing at Memorial Stadium. But after witnessing what passed for their defense last week against West Virginia, I'll take the points. Pick: Oklahoma State
Machine -- Bedlam goes bedlam as Oklahoma State takes down the Sooners for the second year in a row, winning 41-35. Pick: Oklahoma State
Stanford Cardinal (-1 1/2) at UCLA Bruins -- Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Man -- This is a game you can really go either way with, as the spread suggests. However, I feel like a Stanford team on the road for the second straight week and coming off a huge win against Oregon is due for a bit of a letdown this week. I just worry UCLA won't be trying too hard to win in order to keep Oregon out of the conference championship. Pick: UCLA
Machine -- In the wild, bears often scratch their backs against trees. Well, this tree is holding a knife, UCLA. Stanford wins 42-20. Pick: Stanford
South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Tigers (-4) -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Man -- Somebody please help me; I'm picking three ACC teams to cover against SEC teams this weekend. I've clearly lost my damn mind. Pick: Clemson
Woman -- We totally give thanks for the Hatfield and McCoy of college football: Spurrier versus Swinney. I'd plunk down big bucks for a pay-per-view of these two grappling, but this game will have to do. Tahj Boyd plus the Death Valley faithful tip the scales. Pick: Clemson
Machine -- Sorry, Clemson. This is still the Gamecocks' state. South Carolina claims all the palmettos with a 28-20 win. Pick: South Carolina
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-5 1/2) at Southern California Trojans -- Saturday, 8 p.m.
Man -- Well, Notre Dame fans, the only thing standing between your team and its return to glory is a USC team that has played spoiler to your season plenty of times before. And if you're worried about that whole Sports Illustrated curse, I've got news for you. I think the Irish are going to win this one. Pick: Notre Dame
Woman -- Lord, we are truly grateful for this special week of college football. Gut-wrenching rivalries, wretched curses, testosterone-amped grandiloquence -- come on, it doesn't get better than this. I predict Mad Max will throw one crazy-wonderful TD, then spend the rest of the game as a crash-test dummy for Manti Te'o, and the Fighting Irish will be calling their travel agent for tickets to South Florida. Pick: Notre Dame
Machine -- A quarterback making his first career start against what might be the best defense in the entire country? The Machine does not care about these trivial details. It sees Notre Dame going to Miami, but not by enough to cover the spread as it wins 24-21. Pick: USC
1. Man 69-51 (6-4)
2. Woman 68-52 (5-5)
3. Machine 54-66 (6-4)
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